Friday, September 18, 2009

#468: The Crow (1994)

Director: Alex Proyas
Cast: Brandon Lee, Rochelle Davis & Ernie Hudson

On the night before Halloween, Eric Draven (…get it?) and his fiancée Shelly are attacked by gangsters. After throwing Eric out the window to his death, the gangsters rape and kill Shelly. But, as everyone who has seen Casper knows, anyone with unfinished business can come back from the dead to wrap things up.

I was originally going to give this a pretty scathing review. And it’s still not going to be a good one, but my reading up on the film pushed me to be a bit kinder.

A bit of trivia that most people know by now is that Brandon Lee (Bruce Lee’s son) was killed on set when one of the prop guns was mistakenly loaded with a real bullet. When I first finished the film, I was prepared to write that this fact has brought the film a bit more credit than it’s due. And I still do think that it did certainly help give it a boost. But there’s more to it than that.

The reason I was so critical was because this film is severely dated. The theme is not at all a new one any more. The style is similar to loads of other films based on comic books/graphic novels. The soundtrack is also a tad dated (Ebert wrote that it’s entirely ‘hard rock’… which I guess must have softened over time).

But here’s the thing. It really was extremely innovated at the time of its creation. I had three films come to mind while watching this film: The Dark Knight, Kill Bill, and Casper. Aside from the Casper thing, those films are GREAT films to be compared to considering it was made 10 years before the release of Kill Bill, and 15 years before The Dark Knight (and for anyone keeping count, one year before Casper).

So, Mr. Proyas, I apologize for my rush to criticize your film. I have two different “thumb” scores to give it. As a viewer who is trying to imagine seeing the film in 1994: two big thumbs up. As a viewer today: one thumb down.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):

  • Cameron Diaz was offered the role of Shelly, but turned it down because she didn't like the script.
  • According to the biography of Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee's death was predicted by his father Bruce Lee after awaking from his coma. His death was foreseen before Brandon even considered taking up acting as a career.
  • One of the crows used in this film, Magic, was used in all of the following movies.
  • During the boardroom shootout, Draven rolls onto his back to kick a shooter through a window, then nips back up to his feet in one movement: a similar move to one performed in Enter the Dragon (1973) - which, coincidentally, was his father Bruce Lee's last film before an untimely death.

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